Karen Ranson, Director at Large

Karen Ranson retired in 2005 from a successful and rewarding 31-year career as a Software Engineer at International Business Machines (IBM). She retired as a Senior Technical Staff Member, a level that, at the time, was attained by fewer than 5% of the considerable technical population at IBM. After retiring, Karen devoted many hours to giving back to the community, focused primarily on education and helping students. She also pursued a second career as a Math Teacher and continued the piano lessons she’d begun a year before.

For a time, Karen worked with the Silicon Valley Future Stars (SVFS, aka “Molly’s Kids”) as a volunteer in various capacities – she lead SAT/PSAT Prep workshops, and she lead math clinics during their summer and break programs. Karen volunteered for a short time as a math tutor in the College Track after-school program for high school students in East Palo Alto. For six years she volunteered at Reading Partners, a reading literacy program that provides intensive one-on-one tutoring to elementary school students who are reading below grade level. In 2010, Karen was among the IBM employees and retirees who earned President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award.

Because of her interest in the students who were targeted, Karen taught math in two different summer programs for middle school students: an enrichment program, Aim High in Redwood City; and an “algebra readiness” program targeting rising 5th to 9th grade African Ancestry students, CSU-SAI at Maranatha Baptist Church in San Jose. Pre- and post- assessments for each summer of these programs showed improvements in almost all of the students’ math skills.

Karen has a BS degree (Mathematics) from Virginia State University and a MA degree (Mathematics) from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 2012 (40 years later!), Karen earned her Single Subject Teaching Credential (Mathematics) from San Jose State University. She taught at Westmont High School in the Campbell Union High School District in San Jose, and long-term substitute assignments at LeyVa Middle School and Bulldog Tech in the Evergreen Elementary School District in San Jose. Karen has been a member of the SCCABE since 2008.